Kaliningrad Chernyakhovsk East-West freight terminal 2

RUSSIA: A freight terminal has been opened at Chernyakhovsk in Kaliningrad oblast to handle containerised transit traffic between China and Europe.

The East-West terminal is close to the border crossing between Zheleznodorozhny in Russia and Skandawa in Poland, and has a capacity of 450 000 TEU/year with facilities for transhipment between 1 520 and 1 435 mm gauges.

Russian Railways CEO Oleg Belorozov said there has been a seven-fold increase in Eurasian rail traffic passing though the exclave, and the terminal would provide additional capacity at a time when other border crossings, particularly those between Belarus and Poland, are operating at the limit of their capacity.

Kaliningrad Chernyakhovsk East-West freight terminal 1

The UTLA ERA transit freight joint venture of the national railways of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus predicts that the site will become one of the most important hubs along the New Silk Road in the medium term.

Speaking at the official opening on October 1, UTLC ERA Chief Executive Alexei Grom said 3% of rail freight between Europe and China was handled in Kaliningrad in 2019, but this increased to 8% in 2020 and further growth is expected.

Grom explained that speed is becoming more important in the freight market, and this is not just a matter of train operations, but also making fast decisions about serving new destinations and applying new technologies to rail.

‘In August we agreed on how we were going to work together with the new terminal’, he said. ‘And today, only a month or so later, we are handling the first two transit trains from China and Europe.’